Various Artists

Walking By a Building: A Collection of 22 Songs From Baltimore

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City scene compilations are the best "various-artists" albums; unlike most samplers, these actually document something, capture a moment in time. It helps to have a label with a good ear; have you ever heard anyone say that Baltimore, of all places, was a hotbed of local talent? If not, then how to explain these 22 underground artists who all have something valid to offer? And what a nice variety it is: the tranquil paranoia (weird background keyboard!) and cracked silent female vocals of the Cockles; the post-punk blister buzz of Palentine and Helekopter; the post-Ride, blissful, dense noise pop of Plow; the warped, post-My Bloody Valentine pop of the Jennifers. There's an awful lot here to make one want to see a game at Camden Yards (and a band after)! Also appearing from the home of Babe Ruth: Big Heifer, Hassassins, Edith, Beserk!, Universal Order of Armageddon, Thick Shake, UV-373, Pedge, Matt Clark 5, Pornflakes, Jag, Blister Freak Circus, Fat, Octopus, Nord Express, Submensas, and the Shit.